Friday 14 October 2022, 14:00

FIFA welcomes Council of Europe report on ending discrimination against women in sport

  • Important step forward in the fight for a level playing field

  • Cooperation between the sports world and political representatives is key

  • Report recognises FIFA’s efforts

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has approved the report entitled “The fight for a level playing field – ending discrimination against women in the world of sport” prepared by Edite Estrela, a member of the Portuguese delegation to PACE (Socialists, Democrats and Greens Group). The report calls on the Council of Europe member states to take action on important topics such as violence, sexism, gender discrimination and inequalities in pay and to work together to ensure equal opportunities for women in all their diversity to participate in sports activities. The document stresses that cooperation between the sports world and political representatives is key to ensure that sport acts as a true vehicle for change.

The report makes special reference to FIFA’s efforts to prevent and combat violence against women, such as the FIFA Guardians Programme, a violence prevention training scheme in which 5,000 people have already enrolled, and FIFA’s lead for the creation of a new multi-sport intergovernmental agency, working on preventing and combating violence against women in sport. In addition, the report recognises FIFA’s measures to promote the women’s game and women in leadership positions by highlighting that “One billion USD has been invested by FIFA to develop and raise the profile of women’s football.” In 2019, FIFA more than tripled its financial contribution to teams participating in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019™, and has committed to further increasing it significantly for the 2023 edition. Reference is also made to the fact that FIFA has a female Secretary General and its efforts at various levels to promote women in leadership positions within the football administration. Through this report, the Assembly also condemns the hate speech and sexism directed at female athletes, including LBTI athletes. In addition, the report highlights a broad range of measures that need to be taken with regard to: • combating violence against women, in all their diversity, including in the field of sport; • preventing violence against women, including LBTI women, in sport; • providing support to survivors of violence, with an independent and specialised structure; • training sports personnel to prevent all forms of gender-based violence; • ensuring that perpetrators of violence are prosecuted and putting an end to impunity in this area; and • launching awareness-raising campaigns on preventing and combating gender-based violence, including at major sporting events.

Safeguarding principles

In line with the terms and spirit of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), the safeguarding of children in football is based around the following five principles:

Principle 1

We will act in the best interests of children. Ensuring that children are safeguarded is part of a commitment to enhancing their enjoyment and performance in football.

Principle 2

Children’s rights will be respected and promoted throughout the game of football.

Principle 3

The principles and practices in the toolkit will be applied to all children, with no discrimination of any kind.

Principle 4

Safeguarding children is everyone’s responsibility, regardless of the country we are from or the role we hold in football.

Principle 5

Specific roles and responsibilities must be defined within Member Associations (MAs) and all concerns will be reported and dealt with appropriately.